Coexistence 203: How To Stay Legally Safe

Back To Main
Coexistence 202: Conflicts

Generally, by being a decent human being you avoid most legal situations

  • Likeable people are less likely to be dragged into court
  • Being fair and just with everyone will mean that the only people who bring you into a legal trial have an unfair bias against you
  • Historically, being discriminated against in court isn’t uncommon, but it’s less frequent than people who actually deserve the law’s punishment

There are many small ways to stay out of court

  • Avoid conflicts of interest:
    • Mixing personal and business
    • Loaning or borrowing from clients
    • Investing in questionable deals
    • Discriminating for or against someone
  • Learn to set good boundaries with people
    • Don’t be quick to apologize, since it is unintentional admission of guilt
    • Don’t disclose unnecessary information, since it can be used for things like slander, false advertising, etc
    • Manage expectations at the outset and throughout your engagement with them
      • Only make promises and put into writing what you can fulfill
      • Make predictions with a constant disclaimer that there are no true promises
      • If anything changes, notify everyone involved immediately
    • Always have documentation of what was agreed upon and what was performed
      • Be vigilant for a drift from the agreed terms
      • Append or amend the signed documentation to be certain that everyone is still in their scope of duty
      • Include a mediation clause or limitation of liability clause in all engagements
  • Learn what a reasonable cost for the services and goods you’re performing or requesting
    • If you are overpaying, it’s best to learn from it than risk paying a lot of legal fees to regain your losses
    • Be cautious of emerging high-risk areas, especially new ventures or small operations
  • Have the expertise and support to provide what you offer
    • Be careful moving out of your comfort zone to “round out” your service capacity
    • Be sure you have a good attorney with a specialization in your needed legal coverage
  • Pay attention to who will be looking at the matter
    • Many lawsuits are from parties-in-interest who are not directly making the agreement
    • Many attorneys will make work for themselves by pursuing illegitimate cases that they can change conditions to help them win over
  • Trust others, but verify who they are
    • Screen people and do background checks, there may be a scary reason someone is arranging something with you

When you do have to go to court, there are ways to make it easier

  • If you get sued, you can often go through settlement instead
  • A lawsuit is meant to recover damages, and it can be hard to prove non-material damages like emotional damage or psychological damage
    • People go into lawsuits out of a desire for justice, and the ones who do it to make money have no idea what they’re doing
    • Never sue for fees, it’s not worth the cost
Next: Coexistence 301: How To Write